For what I believe is just the second time this offseason Branden Albert spoke at length about his contract situation and the start of free agency on March 12. The first time came with 610 Sports a few weeks ago and on Monday night he talked with the Sports Syndicate, where he said his impending free agency is not all about the money. (Note: I find it cool Albert talked about all this stuff with an untraditional media outlet, like the Sports Syndicate.)
"Everybody says he's lobbying because he wants top money," Albert said. "I'm not lobbying because I want top money. First of all, I had a great contract. I was a first round draft pick. I had a large percentage of money to begin with."
Albert's rookie contract was five years, $15-ish million. So John Dorsey probably doesn't mind hearing him call that a great contract.
"My thing is this," Albert continued, "do not disrespect me. Like I told people before, I worked at my craft. From when I came into the league until now, it was rough [at times]. I had a great rookie year, the second year was rough, the third was rough, last year was a lot better, and this year was great. I finally got to that platform where people know me as a great football player.
"For someone to say move him to guard, that shit is disrespectful. It's not all because I want the best contract, it's the truth. All these same people at the midseason of the year they had me a top 100 player. I don't look at that stuff but I remember that they had me as a top 100 player in the eighth game of the season and then I got hurt in the 10th game. So why are you trying to say now I need to be replaced? It just doesn't make sense to me. That's my argument."
I like seeing this from Albert. He believes in himself and he defends himself passionately. While he had a lot to say, Albert had few details to pass along regarding his contract.
"To be honest with you," Albert said when asked what's going on with this contract status, "being completely honest with you, I really don't know. I really, I mean ... things are in motion, but things are slow right now. There's a lot of things have to come to the forefront. I'm being patient like the rest of the world.
"I go on Twitter and I like messing with people because I want people to lighten up. I don't want to be uptight about the situation and I don't want others to be uptight about the situation.
"There's a lot I can't control. It's not me. I keep saying that. I'm not putting the onus on the organization because those guys just got there and they have to figure out other stuff, too. I'm understanding that and me and my agents, and everybody who works with me, we understand that. It's a process. Decisions have to be made and we have to just be patient. That's all I can say and that's the God's honest truth.
"Time will tell. Free agency starts on the 13th. Hopefully I'm a Chief and if I'm not ... I've been saying it, I really do want to be a Chief. It's not all about the money. It's about how I came from 0 to 70. I'm not at 100 yet. I'm trying to get there. I'm trying to be the best left tackle in football and I'm going to keep making progress towards that."
That's what Albert said about his contract but that wasn't all he said. Check out the full interview because he had some cool things to say, especially when he talked about the offensive line. Below are a few highlights from the rest of the show. Note what he says about Eric Winston, comparing him to Brian Waters, as well as that he'd rather see Donald Stephenson replace him than anybody.
(Note: The questions are paraphrased.)
Do you remember your Combine?
"I ain't gonna lie. Some of these guys posted some amazing things. I think one guy ran a 4.7 [40-yard dash]. Another guy ran a 4.9, Kyle Long ran a 4.9. These guys put up great stats. I remember I ran a 5.1 and my bench press wasn't a lot but I had the fastest 10 yards out of all the offensive lineman at the Combine. My broad jump was [inaudible]. I remember all that stuff. I think Greg Jennings tweeted that with all the measurements in the world you can't measure heart and desire to play football. That's what it comes down to."
What people don't realize is that in college you played with Eugene Monroe and playing you at guard was more of a scheme thing where they wanted you two loaded up on the left side. You two cleared holes for days there.
"Thank you! Someone finally tells the truth. Everybody says Eugene took your spot [at left tackle in college]. I played guard! I excelled at guard as a freshman. First of all, I had D'Brickashaw Ferguson there. Eugene played right guard. Nobody knows that. Eugene was a pure tackle. Our coach came, coach Groh came and said we're going to keep these boys on the left side of the line and we're going to dominate. If I could've played tackle, I could've played tackle but I played guard and I perfected it. That's what I get frustrated about because everyone speculating the truth and putting their own spin on it instead of knowing the truth."
What's your weight now?
"My weight runs like 315 right now. But I play around 308 or 309. That's my goal weight for this year. I keep trying to knock it down each year but that's my goal weight this year to be at 308 or 309. I'll learn how to play with that and I actually trained my body to be that way. My second year when I lost all that weight, I lost it drastically, it was real fast and it kinda drained me for the season. People don't understand that. I lost 40 pounds in two months. Science tells you you can't do that. It's bad for you to do that. By the time I got to the season I was drained. But I didn't use that as an excuse. That's another thing. In five years with people dogging me, not once did I use anything as an excuse. I just said I'm going to continue working hard and I'm going to show people."
On Eric Winston:
"I think Eric Winston is the No. 1 right tackle to me, in my eyes a top 10 tackle period. I think he's a hell of a player period.
I have a lot of respect for the guy. He was like a milder Brian Waters to me. When I was young, every time I did something, he would look at me like what the hell are you doing. Eric, he know I was older and I used to do certain things and he would look back at me and be like, 'What are you doing?' and I'd be like, 'Ahh I don't know'. And he'd be like, 'Use your tools, use what you got'. He used to tell me, 'If I had your tools I'd do this and that'. That's how I became a good player is by listening to him because he was experienced. He'd been in big games, been proven as one of the best right tackles, in my eyes the best right tackle, I just listened to what he was saying and just tried to use that in my game."
What about the rest of the offensive line?
"Jon [Asamoah], man, if not this year then next year, years from now, he's going to be a great leader. The guy comes in and works hard. He's one of the guys that is going to impress you because of his demeanor because he really cares. Same with [Rodney] Hudson. Both of those guys they really care about their craft and what they do. Jeff and Donald, man, they can play football. I would never tell them, not to hype their head up, but they can both play football. Very, very, very talented young men. They just need to get upstairs. Once they get upstairs and learn how to be be professional, learn how to perfect their craft and learn how to keep their body in shape, the sky's the limit. I'd rather Donald Stephenson as the heir to the throne and he can take my spot then somebody else. That's my opinion. I think he's going to be a hell of a player but he has to get upstairs first. I think he's one of the best athletes besides myself as a big man I've ever seen in my life."